Flexibility has been the motto of the Walt Disney Company over the past year.
And, not just in the Disney Theme Parks. Last year, Disney not only had to face the closure of Disney World and other parks around the world, but they also had to plan for the release of new movies as theaters closed or reopened at a limited capacity. They’ve chosen to release some movies, like Soul, directly to the Disney+ streaming platform, while others have been released both in theaters in and on Disney+ for an extra fee, like Raya and the Last Dragon. So, what is the situation for movie releases moving forward?
Well, we got a glimpse into the state of current and future movie releases during an interview hosted by Bloomberg with Bob Chapek, CEO of the Walt Disney Company.
When discussing the current subscription numbers for Disney+ (which recently hit 100 million subscribers), Chapek commented on the recent release of Raya and the Last Dragon to Disney+ Premiere Access.
He shared that they chose to release the movie both in theaters and on the streaming platform for a fee due to the pandemic and because there are “fundamental consumer changes” occurring. Chapek said, “People want to see movies the way they want to see them, when they want to see them, and how they want to see them.”
So, could this mean that more movies will release to Disney+ at an extra fee initially? Chapek says that the decision on whether this strategy will be used moving forward will be “up to the consumer.” Thus far, they have been “thrilled” with the response to the Premiere Access option.
When asked if this strategy could be implemented for the upcoming release of Black Widow, Chapek said that they are “waiting to see how theatergoers respond to theater reopenings” to make the decision and will “remain flexible.”
Currently, the film is set to release on May 7th in theaters after being pushed back from a late 2020 premiere date. Chapek stressed that they’ve seen a lot of success in theater debuts in the past and want to continue to build the franchise but said “we don’t think it’s the only way to do it.” Disney will continue to watch consumer trends and make the call on the release of Black Widow “at the last minute.”
While Disney hasn’t released numbers on those who signed up for Premiere Access of Raya and the Last Dragon or made a decision on whether Black Widow will utilize a similar strategy, what we do know is that Disney is watching us and what we want closely. We’ll be keeping track of all the upcoming Disney releases and will bring you the latest so stay tuned!
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Have you seen any movies in the theater recently? Let us know in the comments!